Broncos 31, Warriors 10
It was perfect football weather for a rematch of the Mountain West division champions, as Hawaii came back to Boise to take on the Broncos for bragging rights and a truly huge trophy. While the lowest attendance at a MWCCG in Boise yet, #FamFillsTheBlue still helped get 23,561 total fans to witness the final regular season game in the Mountain West.
After winning the toss, the Broncos elected to receive. Instead of the usual dazzling opening drive, however, they immediately went three & out to start the game.
Hawaii received the punt and then ground out 35 yards before settling for a long field goal and the lead.
After the ensuing kickoff, Jaylon Henderson engineered a long drive that stalled out in Hawaii territory after a penalty. Eric Sachse did his thing from 37 yards, and the game was all tied up.
3-3, All Tied
Hawaii took a touchback on the Bronco kickoff, and drove down to the opposing 1 yard line before Cole MacDonald was stuffed on 4th & Goal. The Warriors had originally kicked and made a field goal for the lead, but a Bronco penalty on the kick made it 4th & goal on the one, and Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich decided to take a shot. The Bronco offense managed to get out of the shadow of their goal posts before punting to the Warriors from the Boise 35 yard line.
Hawaii looked to make a quick score with under 4 minutes remaining in the first half, and drove to the Bronco 36 before Kekoa Nawahine picked off a Cole MacDonald pass in the endzone.
Feeling some pressure with Hank Bachmeier warming up on the sidelines, Jaylon Henderson put together a masterful drive with his arm and his legs, ending the 80 yard push with a beautiful broken play pass to Khalil Shakir on 4th & 4 at the Hawaii 36 yard line.
The Bronco defense got right back to work after the kickoff, forcing a very quick Hawaii punt. Bryan Harsin then did some deft clock management, and Jaylon Henderson hooked up with John Hightower for a highlight-reel catch and run for a touchdown.
Hawaii opted to run out the final seconds of the half and try again after the break, as they would receive the second half kickoff.
Hawaii came to play in the second half, and again drove to the Bronco 5 yard line before getting stopped on downs. The Broncos took over at the 5 but traded punts with Hawaii before Jaylon Henderson put together another long drive capped by a 4-yard Khalil Shakir TD run.
On the opening play of Hawaii’s next drive, Cole MacDonald was strip sacked by Sonatane Lui, and Demitri Washington jumped on the loose ball at the Hawaii 9. A couple plays later, Jaylon Henderson did his best John Elway impression with a diving reach for the end zone.
As the game slid into the fourth frame, Hawaii put together a workman-like drive, primarily on the ground. Miles Reed broke loose several big runs, the last one a 21-yard touchdown.
After a touchback on the kickoff, the Broncos drove into Hawaii territory. Jaylon Henderson threw an ill-advised pass that got picked off by Hawaii’s Kai Kaneshiro on the Hawaii 37, but the Hawaii offense couldn’t muster up yardage against the Bronco defense, once again turning it over on downs deep in their own territory.
The Broncos used up the clock, and then settled for a 37-yard FG attempt. Sachse had an incredibly rare miss off a bad snap, and Hawaii got the ball on their own 17 with under two minutes to play.
Hawaii’s last gasp didn’t cross the 50 before time expired, and Boise State was once again Mountain West champions. Now we await the results of Bowl Selection Sunday!